Social media is rife with problems. Whether it’s “fake news” that Facebook refuses to address or the haraassment that Twitter ignores, social media is not a well-run place. Luckily, there is an alternative for people seeking a social community online – forums. Forums or message boards are an online discussion site where people can have a conversation in posted messages. They are much better than social media groups and here’s why:
1. They’re Autonomous
One of the main reasons why internet forums are better than social media groups like Reddit is because they are autonomous. This means that as a user, you are anonymous. No one knows your identity or your reputation on a forum, and they don’t care either. Joining a forum gives you a blank slate. You have a chance to build a reputation through your actions in that particular community. As a result, they won’t judge you for your past actions. As long as you follow the rules of the forum, you can participate. This isn’t the case with social media groups. Twitter, for instance, shares blocklists based on people that have different political opinions than you do. What this means is that your online reputation can ban you from conversations.
2. They Have Better Moderation Systems
Unlike Twitter and Reddit, a well-run forum doesn’t have double standards. The popular user doesn’t get away with everything just because he brings the company money or popularity. Instead, he’s treated like everyone else, meaning if he breaks the rules and disrupts the community he gets kicked out. There’s no subjectivity. In most cases, people get a warning, and if they continue to misbehave, they’re eventually banned, regardless of their popularity or political views. Knowing how to create a forum website can be advantageous as you can make an unbiased place for people to exchange messages.
3. They Tend to be Less Abusive
Because forums have clearly laid out rules that get consistently moderated, they generally tend to be less abusive than social media sites. On Facebook and Twitter, you can send threats, and nothing happens, whereas on a decent forum, you will be banned or punished by the moderator.
4. They Limit a Company’s Influence
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are heavy with corporate influence. This is because these social networks represent opportunities for these companies to sell their products or services. There isn’t as much opportunity for selling with forums, so there’s less of a corporate presence. Also, forum owners are less willing to censor their sites to please a corporate or political entity.
5. They Let Communities be Run However the Owner Wants
On most platforms, like Reddit or Voat, there is a single set of guidelines that all communities have to follow on most platforms. While these rules make sense for some communities, they can be confining for other groups. For example, a rule about not linking to other groups may make sense for some communities, but it may be useful to do so in others. Forums can make up rules specifically designed for the nature of their communities. They can be as harsh or as lenient as they want to be with their guidelines, and if someone doesn’t like it, they can just find another forum with different rules.
6. They are One-of-a-Kind
Forums are entirely unique. No two communities will have the same style, plugin, pages, or features. This means that you can customize things specifically for the community the forum serves. You can add features like a chat room, a download center, or a gallery based on the group’s needs. Furthermore, the site can be personalized to make it unique and special for the community it serves.
7. They have Archives
Forums make it easy to find specific conversations as most archive their topics. Imagine trying to find a conversation from five years ago on Facebook. It would be nearly impossible or, at the very least time-consuming. The organization of forums, however, makes retrieving posts easy.
While social media is more prevalent than forums, they pale compared to the advantages of internet forums. Forums are independently owned and operated, so there is less corporate meddling and better moderation, making sure that people aren’t blackballed because of their online reputations. Instead, people are given a blank slate, and as long as they follow, the rules are free to participate. They also tend to be less abusive than social media groups because moderators pay close attention and ban or punish people for abuse.
There is also a uniqueness to forums that social media groups don’t offer. Communities can be customized to meet their participants’ needs, and rules can be designed to accommodate the group’s function. Lastly, most forums’ archival system makes find posts easy so users can revisit past conversations with ease.